Park City approves Main Street pedestrian days, seen as a step toward economic recovery
Park City will invite shoppers, diners and revelers onto the Main Street asphalt this year on certain days.
But cars will not be welcome on those days.
The Park City Council on Thursday unanimously approved a street closure along Main Street from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Sundays from June 14 until Sept. 6. Main Street will instead become a pedestrian zone on those days in an effort to attract customers at a time of economic uncertainty caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Historic Park City Alliance, a group that represents the interests of businesses along Main Street or just off the street, supported the decision. The organization sees the pedestrian zone as something that will advance its own recovery blueprints for Main Street.
The elected officials mentioned several topics as they prepared to cast a vote, including noting a concern that turning Main Street into a pedestrian zone could push traffic onto residential streets in surrounding Old Town. City Hall staffers explained that a turnaround will be put in the Brew Pub lot toward the southern end of Main Street in an effort to keep drivers from heading into the neighborhood.
Mayor Andy Beerman and the city councilors, though, were supportive. Steve Joyce, a member of the City Council, said he hopes there is more dining and shopping outside and said he hopes the pedestrian zone is “transformative.”
There was also brief talk about the difficulty of measuring the success and about the possibility of the city councilors conducting walk-throughs of the pedestrian zone to gather information once they launch. The elected officials plan to review the pedestrian zone in early July and again in early August.
Leaders created the weekly pedestrian zone as the summer-tourism season arrives. The supporters of the change along Main Street say the pedestrian zone will provide more space for social distancing, something that could be attractive to people who remain hesitant about returning to places where there could be crowds. The supporters also say the pedestrian zone will create an atmosphere that will be a draw for Park City.
The pedestrian zone will involve two stretches of road encompassing most of the commercial section of Main Street. One will run from Heber Avenue south to the Brew Pub lot while the other will run from Heber Avenue north to 9th Street. The cross streets of Heber Avenue and 9th Street will remain open to traffic.
The Sunday timing of the pedestrian days is significant after the cancellation of the Park Silly Sunday Market this year based on concerns about the sickness. The Silly Market draws large crowds on Sundays in the summer and early fall. It is centered on a car-free lower Main Street and extends to several locations on upper Main Street. It is expected that the pedestrian days this year could draw some of the people accustomed to heading to Main Street on Sundays for the Silly Market.
More details about the operations of the pedestrian zone are expected to be publicized as the first Sunday approaches.
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Park City Fire District Chief Paul Hewitt died Friday from injuries sustained in an off-duty accident earlier in the week, the agency announced.